Combs Spouts Off

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Brown and Ford

Posted by Richard on December 29, 2006

Two very different men of significance died this week: James Brown and Gerald Ford. I’m sorry to see them both go. I must confess, though, that my most vivid memories regarding both are actually of their impersonators. Beyond WIN buttons, I don’t recall much of anything Ford did or said, but I can still see Chevy Chase playing Ford as a bumbling, stumbling simpleton on SNL. Pretty unfair (of both Chase and me) — Ford was third in his class at Yale Law School.

Likewise, although I can hear snatches of Brown’s music in my mind, the image that I remember is a Brown impersonator (I can’t recall who, but I don’t think it was Eddie Murphy) caricaturing Brown’s shtick of starting to leave the stage seemingly exhausted, then suddenly regaining his strength, shrugging off the coat draped over him by an assistant, and storming back to the microphone.

Like most of us, both men had their pluses and minuses. Interestingly, they were opposites in that regard. By all accounts, Gerald Ford was a very nice man, but he wasn’t a very good president. James Brown, on the other hand, was a terrific performer, but apparently wasn’t a very nice man. Since we’re supposed to speak well of the dead, I’ll recast their weaknesses in a more positive light. I’m pretty sure James Brown didn’t mistreat women as much as Bobby Brown. And I’m certain the country would have been better off if Gerald Ford had won in 1976.
 

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